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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 January 2006, 06:45 GMT
London 'worst for licence cheats'
TV licence
Newham borough has the highest number of TV licence dodgers
More people were caught without a TV licence in London last year than in Glasgow, Birmingham and Manchester combined, TV Licensing said.

Figures for 2005 show 56,916 Londoners failed to buy a licence - more than one tenth of the total number caught across the country.

The worst boroughs were Newham (4,249), Brent (3,714), Haringey (3,296), Greenwich (3,152) and Lambeth (3,100).

The current fee is 126.50 but that will rise to 131.50 from 1 April.

A spokesman for TV Licensing said it was "sending a clear warning to Londoners who think they can get away without paying for a TV licence - they can't".

Pet excuses

She said evasion was at a record low at 5%.

Many blame their pets in outlandish attempts to avoid punishment - from the dog eating the document to it being lost when used to line a snake's cage.

Among those to evade paying their licence fee last year was Premiership footballer El-Hadji Diouf who was fined 100 by magistrates.

The 25-year-old Bolton Wanderers player had refused to let the TV licence officer into his Liverpool home, but confirmed he had a colour television and no licence.

Earlier this month the government revealed that the total television licence fee revenue collected by the BBC between 2000 and 2005 was more than 13bn.

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